The Rockets wasted no time picking apart the Grizzlies.
Steve Francis did a whole lot of everything, scoring 13 points, 12 assists and 10 boards for his second career triple double as the Rockets routed the Bears 106-89.
The win improves the Rockets record to 21-22.
Francis, whose only other triple-double ironically enough came almost exactly one year ago against the Warriors, was fantastic, and Hakeem Olajuwon surprised everyone with a huge game in limited minutes, scoring 17 points in 22 minutes on 7-10 shooting.
That and Cuttino Mobley led the Rockets with 23 points (9-15 from the floor) and also grabbed 10 boards. Damn. In fact, Cat is averaging 9 boards a contest in his last 3 games.
The Rockets looked like championship contenders on this night, and that's in no small part because they played the Grizzlies.
Vancouver is awful... beyond that. What a lifeless team. And the thing is they have talent... but no fire. No Francis or Mobley to smack some ass and get the team fired up. With guys like Shareef Abdur-Rahim (17 points, 7 boards) and Mike Bibby (14 points, 8 assists), plus ex-Rocket Michael Dickerson (who scored 21 of his 25 in the first half), they should be much better than 11-32.
I think you'll see that team go through a serious dismantling... soon.
Maurice Taylor added 12 points for the Rockets, and as has become the norm (like clockwork almost), he nailed his first 5 shots before the halfway point of the first period to score 10 points. If the dude would sit down after the first period he'd be putting up Wilt Chamberlain-esque per minute numbers.
Moochie Norris had a very good game, scoring 13, 6 assists and 5 boards. Walt Williams didn't shoot particularly well (3-11, 9 of those attempts from long range) but managed 11 points.
Maurice Taylor, as usual, came out hot, hitting his first 5 shots and finishing with 10 points in the quarter, but when Mike Bibby nailed two jumpers before the quarter ended, the score was all knoted up at 27 heading in to the second period.
Francis had 6 assists in the first quarter alone.
Vancouver came out hot to start the second, taking a 33-30 lead, but a three-point play followed by two Walt Williams' three-pointers and a Carlos Rogers tip-in gave the Rockets a 41-35 edge.
The Rockets kept the heat on. Hakeem scored 6 more points (giving him 11 at half) while Mobley finished with 12 at half -- Houston led 59-49 at intermission.
Ex-Rocket Michael Dickerson had 21 at halftime... 13 of those coming in the second quarter.
Vancouver was forced to call an early timeout in the third -- Shandon scored, Hakeem hit a jumper than Francis a runner in the lane and the Rockets led 67-51.
The Rockets didn't suffer letdown. When Mobley nailed a three with just over 4 minutes left in the third, the lead was 82-61.
It was a rout by the end of the third, 91-68, thanks to the Rockets 59% shooting through three. Mobley added 9 more points in the period, giving him 21. Hakeem had 17 points in just 22 minutes of action. Francis had 11 points, 11 assists and 9 rebounds -- one board shy of a triple-double.